G.I. Joe: Retaliation—sequel to American Classic G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra—is escapist filmmaking for the paranoid wingnut.
Before I get to why, let me just state for the record that Retaliation is no Battleship—which is to say it is not a coruscating beacon of unimpeachably fantastic moviemaking. Yes, they are both Hasbro movies; but this one lacks a certain joy and self-aware humor—even though it was written by the same guys who wrote Zombieland and Spike TV’s The Joe Schmo Show. The brightest part of the movie is the fact that rapper/producer RZA * plays a blind ninja dojo master named Blind Master. (Click here to see RZA as a ninja-dojo-master action figure.) The film also has Channing Tatum, The Rock, North Koreans, Adrianne Palicki fighting North Koreans, and 3D visual effects.
But the real draw is that this movie possesses plenty of amazing (but perhaps unintentional) political troll-power.
The crème de la crème of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation trollfest is that—as my colleague Tim Murphy points out—much of it doubles as a conservative anti-Obama fantasy. One of the bad guys (played by Jonathan Pryce) is the Democratic President of the United States, a foreign-born imposter who uses killer drones on American citizens overseas, and desires a world rid of nuclear weapons. As the movie trundles to its climax, the only thing that can stop him is a team of gun-toting insurgents, led by a politically incorrect Army veteran played by Bruce Willis who does nothing but hoard a large arsenal of assault weapons in his house.
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